How To Use Image Recognition For Hot ‘Scan-To-Shop’ Experiences

There’s so much buzz around Augmented Reality experiences these days that one often forgets to talk about the amazing related technologies such as Image Recognition. To illustrate that it is far from being a futuristic, geeky niche, the industry is already worth $11.7bn.

We will show you how you can use this exciting tech to turn an unexpected asset into your marketing superweapon: your product packaging.

What is Image Recognition and what can you do with it?

In case you are not completely familiar with the term, Image Recognition tech enables apps and websites to identify pictures and photos, logos and artwork, various objects (including product packages and labels), landmarks etc. Upon successful identification, the technology can trigger digital experiences (such as a game, a video or Augmented Reality content, even offline) or lead the user to an online site or hyperlinked content.

Implementing this technology (such as our Image Recognition solution) on mobile platforms enable companies to create all sorts of engaging customer experiences that are accessible to all users. (Read: they don’t need expensive headsets, they can just use their regular tablets or smartphones.)

Even if Image Recognition is the ‘chameleon’ of mobile technologies as it seamlessly fits into a wide range of use cases, now let’s focus on a specific, $24 trillion industry: retail & product discovery.

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Death to boring retail experiences

Not so long ago, whenever the girl in that photo (and her real-life counterparts) saw something they liked at a store, on the street or at a friend’s house, they had to go online, open one of the behemoth search engines in the browser and start typing in the product’s name. (Or, what’s worse, fabricating vague descriptions that return thousands of results, half of which are completely irrelevant.)

Now, the girl might just pull her phone out of her pocket (if she hasn’t already had it in her hand, as 40% of young customers love to use their mobile devices in stores and consider them their ultimate shopping companion).

She opens the retailer’s or brand’s app, points her phone’s camera at the package of the product and voilà: she can match prices, see peer reviews, watch inspiring videos, share it on social, set up a sale alert, or directly purchase it with one tap. 

This is what we call ‘Scan-to-Shop’ experiences.

Watch our demo video recorded at the Millennial 20/20 event in London to get the idea in 30 seconds.

You may think: this looks like fun. But does it really matter to customers?

Actually, it does. And how!

This is why Scan-to-Shop matters to your customers:

Some supporting facts about today’s customers:

1. They want instant gratification.

Their attention span is limited to just a few seconds. If they see a product they like, they may want to be able to know more about it right now (especially if it needs more consideration because of its high value) or even get it right away.

Now, Scan-to-Shop lets them do that: you scan a product with your device and it links to the mCommerce site or convincing demonstrations. 

2. They expect personalized experiences.

They want to be recognized by their favorite brands (both literally and figuratively speaking) so that they only see offers that are personally relevant to them.

Scan-to-Shop lets you scan a product and get an interactive, ever-changing, personalized digital store experience that is tailored to what you’re looking for.

3. They despise boring, outdated marketing tactics.

Only 1% of Millennials surveyed said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more. They care much more about authentic experiences they can share on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.

Image Recognition technology allows your customers to interact with your product packaging and print materials. In other words, something that is otherwise 100% offline and passive gets connected to 100% digital experiences that are timely, interactive, personalized and unexpected. Most importantly, anything but boring.

Imagine ‘Scan-to-Shop’ mobile experiences like these…


Spotted a gorgeous but pricey makeup kit? Open a beauty retailer’s branded app and point your smartphone at the eyeshadow palette. The app identifies the scanned product, shows you makeup tutorials and matches the best price available.


Use your phone to scan the label of a bottle of divine Cabernet Sauvignon you grabbed to get matching recipes for your dinner date at home. Or to buy a bottle of the wine you liked at a restaurant, using an app like Uvinum.


Point your smartphone’s camera at a print ad, magazine or an outdoor poster featuring an outfit you like. Connect to the brand’s online store and buy the products with one tap. See how Glamour did it.

How to turn your product packaging into an online store in 3 easy steps:

If you think that the experiences outlined above require several months of complicated development on the clients’ side, including a high dose of blood, sweat, and tears, then you are wrong.

Luckily, we provide all kinds of tools for your developers (such as native SDKs, API, and a web-based content management system) that make it super-fast and easy to integrate our Image Recognition tech into your own branded apps and websites.

Take a quick look to see how it goes:


Why would you settle for 20th-century marketing for the customers of our mobile-first age? Schedule a demo with us if you want to learn more and make your products come alive.